The UK Government reduced the number of Employment Tribunal claims by introducing fees back in July 2013. It is widely recognised that the aim of the Employment Tribunals fees regime was to reduce the number of claims without merit.
However, we have argued that the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees has acted as a significant barrier to justice. Many people now decide they cannot afford to take their claim to the Employment Tribunal, especially those who earn less. As low-value claims are rarer, it perhaps should not come as a surprise that the percentage of claimants who are represented by a lawyer at tribunal has increased from 75 per cent last year to 84 per cent this year.
Last year the Tribunals Report confirmed a decrease in Employment Tribunal claims. This year, the quarterly statistics for April to June 2016 have revealed that claims are down again, this time by three per cent on the same period last year.
However, the Government is now announcing policies that would have the effect of significantly increasing the number of workplace discrimination claims.
Employers will be required to log how many “foreigners” they employ. Even if these statistics are not (yet) intended to be public, this requirement is likely to encourage employers to discriminate against actual and potential foreign employees.
Jeremy Hunt announced that the NHS will start to sack foreign clinicians when this country leaves the EU and replace them with those born and trained in the UK. This will lead to potential discrimination not only on grounds of nationality but also on grounds of national and ethnic origin. Many people who were not born in the UK hold UK passports and have lived here for many years but under these proposals it seems they could also be discriminated against.
The expert employment solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers provide expert legal advice on work disputes. If you or your family member has a work issue call Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we will call you back.
Clive Howard is a senior employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.